FoodHACCP Newsletter
09/02 2013 ISSUE:563


Imported Salmonella Spice; Scary and Deadly
Source :
By Bill Marler (Sep 01, 2013)
Not to be confused with the Spice Girls.
New York Times writer Gardiner Harris wrote last week about the risks of Salmonella in imported spices.  According to Gardiner:
The United States Food and Drug Administration will soon release a comprehensive analysis that pinpoints imported spices, found in just about every kitchen in the Western world, as a surprisingly potent source of Salmonella poisoning.
In a study of more than 20,000 food shipments, the food agency found that nearly 7 percent of spice lots were contaminated with Salmonella, twice the average of all other imported foods. Some 15 percent of coriander and 12 percent of oregano and basil shipments were contaminated, with high contamination levels also found in sesame seeds, curry powder and cumin. Four percent of black pepper shipments were contaminated.
Mexico and India had the highest share of contaminated spices. About 14 percent of the samples from Mexico contained salmonella, the study found, a result Mexican officials disputed.
India’s exports were the second-most contaminated, at approximately 9 percent, but India ships nearly four times the amount of spices to the United States that Mexico does, so its contamination problems are particularly worrisome, officials said. Nearly one-quarter of the spices, oils and food colorings used in the United States comes from India.
The findings, the result of a three-year study that F.D.A. officials have on occasion discussed publicly and recently published in the journal Food Microbiology, form an important part of the spice analysis that will be made public “soon,” agency officials said.
“Salmonella is a widespread problem with respect to imported spices,” Michael Taylor, deputy F.D.A. commissioner for food, said in an interview. “We have decided that spices are one of the significant issues we need to be addressing right now.”
It should have happened earlier.
In early 2009, health departments in several states documents PFGE-matched cases of the rare strain of Salmonella Rissen. As investigations into the apparent outbreak got fully underway, Salmonella Rissen matching the outbreak-strain—that is, the strain isolated from the individuals infected—was isolated from ground white pepper found in three different restaurants in three of the affected states. In each instance, the ground white pepper bore a U.F. Union brand name. This discovery prompted an inspection of the U.F. Union facility in Union City, California. The inspection occurred on March 27, 2009, in accordance with the Domestic Food Safety Inspection Program. At that point, there were 42 confirmed Salmonella infections that had been linked to consumption of U.F. Union’s contaminated white pepper.
My client, Donna Pierce, was born on April 16, 1939 in Antigo, Wisconsin. She died April 9, 2009 of a Salmonella Rissen infection after spending the last month of her life hospitalized. As a family member said:
Shortly after I left the hospital to get something to eat, Donna died. My heart was broken. I could not believe that she was finally gone. She and I were lifelong friends. Especially these past couple of years, we spent all of our time together. We would play board games, talk, eat, shop, and visit family. Not a day goes by that I do not miss her company.
I will always remember Donna for her great sense of humor. She loved to laugh. She believed that laughter would add years to her life. I guess it did not turn out that way for Donna.
I guess not.  Read a bit about the inspection report:
The inspection conducted at U.F. Union included an examination of the facility’s pepper-handling procedures and good manufacturing practices. The inspection turned up a litany of disturbing findings. For example, according to the final FDA 483 report, the owner was cited for six inspection observations:
1. Failure to manufacture, package, and store foods under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential growth of microorganisms and contamination.
a. Private laboratory analysis results provided by the hired consultant revealed environmental samples collected from inside the facility were found positive for Salmonella.
b. Ground white pepper was stored in open barrels beneath an unscreened roof vent.
2. Failure to maintain white pepper grinding equipment in an acceptable condition through appropriate cleaning and sanitizing (an accumulation of dust was observed on multiple food contact surfaces).
3. The funnels and unlined barrels were not made of materials that allowed for proper cleaning and maintenance.
4. Failure to clean and sanitize scoops used for repackaging spices in a manner that protected against contamination of food (food residues and a thin film of dust were observed on the scoops).
5. Failure to clean non-food contact surfaces in the white pepper grinding room and the adjacent hallway as frequently as necessary to protect against contamination (accumulations of white pepper dust and brown stains were observed on multiple surfaces in the immediate vicinity of food contact surfaces).
6. Failure to maintain pipes used to convey oil (food product) in a manner that protected against contamination (oil was observed collected in pans below pipes and in a plastic bag tied around a pipe in the sauce and oil bottling room).
Additionally, of 116 environmental-swab samples collected, 46 tested positive for Salmonella (40%), while 14 of 18 in-process white pepper samples (78%), and 2 finished-product composite samples (100%) tested positive. By June 4, 2009, the U.F. Union Salmonella outbreak encompassed a total of 87 PFGE-matched cases of Salmonella Rissen in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
Also as part of the outbreak investigation, samples of whole white pepper were collected at U.F. Union’s facility from sealed, intact bags purchased from Harris Freeman. A sample collected from one of the Harris Freeman bags, on April 7, 2009, was positive for Salmonella Rissen, and was a genetic match to the unique outbreak strain.
FDA, better late than never.

Burma Superstar Scored Well on Inspections Before E. coli Outbreak
Source :
By News Desk (AUG 31, 2013)
The Burma Superstar restaurant in San Francisco that is at the center of a city and state E. coli investigation has had a history of mostly low-risk food safety violations, according to a review of health department inspection documents by Food Poisoning Bulletin. One person has been hospitalized in the outbreak for a life-threatening case of HUS kidney failure and a total of 14 ill people are considered case patients. Food poisoning investigators for the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health are trying to pinpoint the cause, but nine of the outbreak victims reportedly ate at Burma Superstar in mid-August before falling ill.
The City and County of San Francisco’s  Environmental Health inspection findings show only one high-risk violation — “improper cooling methods” — a condition that was cited during a June 27, 2011, visit. It was corrected by the time an inspection team returned for a follow-up exam on July 7, 2011. At the same time, the health department cleared the restaurant of a moderate-risk violation related to holding food at improper temperatures.
The most recent city inspection of the popular Inner Richmond neighborhood restaurant showed four violations, three described as “Low Risk” and one described as “Moderate Risk.” That inspection — conducted on Valentine’s Day, 2013, — described the moderate-risk condition as “inadequately cleaned or sanitized food contact surfaces.” The overall score on that inspection was 90 percent. Two previous inspections of the restaurant indicated “low-risk vermin infestation,” but the Valentine’s Day inspection did not find a vermin problem.
The city and county records indicate that Burma Superstar, located at 309 Clement St., is the holder of a “symbol of excellence” designation under the San Francisco Health Code. The symbol recognizes the food preparation and service food establishments that exemplify high standards of food safety. The 2004 ordinance that created the symbol was designed to create strong incentives for food safety, according to a summary of the law. The ordinance states that the symbol is issued only to establishments that receive three successive scores of ninety (90) percent or higher with no major violations as set forth in the food inspection report.
Burma Superstar has been closed for the Labor Day weekend as surveillance of the E. coli outbreak continues. The owner has told local reporters that he will reopen the restaurant early next week.

Massachusetts Closes Waters to Oyster Harvesting After Vibrio Outbreak
Source :
By Linda Larsen (AUG 31, 2013)
The state of Massachusetts has closed Duxbury, Plymouth, Marshfield, and Kingston Bay Complex to commercial oyster harvesting because of an outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus. This is the first time those waters have been closed, despite a two-year effort of government and industry to implement safeguards against that bacteria.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is currently investigating an outbreak of more than 40 people sickened by Vibrio this summer. Some of those illnesses have been definitively attributed to cultured oysters from that specific growing area. There is no wild harvest on those waters.
All oysters harvested from this area that are in commerce are being recalled. The closure is in effect from August 30, 2013 until further notice.
The symptoms of a Vibrio infection include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills. The symptoms begin within 24 hours of exposure. Most people are sickened after eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters.

Restaurant Suspected Source of San Francisco E. coli Outbreak
Source :
By News Desk (AUG 31, 2013)
The San Francisco Department of Public Health is investigating a 14-person E. coli outbreak that has reportedly been linked to a popular Burmese restaurant, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.
On Friday, the Chronicle reported that public health department employees believe 9 of 14 E. coli O157:H7 cases can be linked to food served at the Burma Superstar restaurant in the Inner Richmond neighborhood on August 16 or 17.
While the outbreak source is unknown, Burma Superstar reportedly closed voluntarily for the weekend.
E. coli O157:H7 causes severe diarrheal illness.  Diarrhea and severe stomach cramps are the most common symptoms of E. coli infection.  Diarrhea can contain mucous or be bloody.
According to the health department, at least one case of hemolytic uremic syndrome has been reported among the 14 E. coli cases.  Hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, can cause kidney failure.

Cyclospora Outbreak: New Numbers – 658 Ill, 45 Hospitalized, 23 States
Source :
By Bill Marler (AUG 31, 2013)
45 Hospitalized
Michigan Added
Texas Under-counted by 22
The CDC reports a total of 636 cases of Cyclospora infection have been reported from 23 states and New York City. The number of cases identified in each area is as follows: Texas (282), Iowa (156), Nebraska (86), Florida (32), Wisconsin (16), Illinois (11), Arkansas (10), Georgia (5), Missouri (5), New York City (5), Kansas (4), Louisiana (3), Connecticut (2), Michigan (1), Minnesota (2), New Jersey (4), New York (2), Ohio (2), Virginia (3), California (1), New Hampshire (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), and Wyoming (1).
Nebraska and Iowa have reported linking the outbreak to Taylor Farms lettuce mixed served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster.
The Texas Department of Health (DSHS) reports a total of 304 cases of Cyclospora infection in Texas in 2013 with the vast majority having onsets in June and July. Most Texas cases are reported from the Dallas/Fort Worth area. DSHS is investigating the cases to identify possible common exposures and to determine whether they are linked to an outbreak in other states.

Goose-Scaring Drone Improves Water Quality in Canada
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (Sep 01, 2013)
Did you know that a goose poops an average of 15 times an hour, producing as much as a pound and a half of poop every day?  When a flock gathers waterfront, that much poop can easily contaminate the water with dangerous E.coli bacteria, prompting beach or reservoir closures.
Members of the Ottawa city council know this problem well. They’ve tried decoys and dogs and other ways to scare geese away from public waterfronts, but they’ve never had much success. Until now.
This year the city tried a drone. A 26-inch-wide, remote controlled flying drone called the Goosebuster built by Aerial Perspectives. And it worked.
The drone has speakers and a loud siren, but those aren’t usually necessary. The geese are frightened enough by an unidentified flying object.
The drone has cut the number of geese visiting Petrie Island daily from between 140 and 150 to 12 or 15, Ottawa City Councillor Bob Monette told ABC news. Last year, E. coli contamination prompted 12 beach closures. This year there were none.
To reduce your risk of illness while swimming at public beaches, follow these tips. Check with your local health department before swimming at a public beach. Shower before and after you swim. Don’t submerge your head or swallow water. If children are with you, give them a potty break once an hour and check diapers every 30 minutes. Change the diapers away from the swimming area and wash hands before returning to the water.

Health inspectors check food safety at Taste of Madison
Source :
By  Madeline Anderson (Sep 01, 2103)
There's never a moment of down time for vendors working the Taste of Madison.
"Day one was hectic," Rocky So said. "I didn't know what to expect at all. I pretty much understaffed, I didn't bring enough supplies. It was just a rookie mistake on my part."
So on day two, first time vendor SoHo has come prepared, with extra people on hand, and a better idea of what the experience will be like. Approximately 250,000 people were expected to stop by and sample cuisine from all around Wisconsin on the Capitol Square.
"Considering the big crowds here, we're going to need more than just two refrigerators to keep enough food to serve every body," So said. He's the owner of SoHo and has noticed the city keeps a close eye on the 90 vendors here. Health inspectors even double checked that ingredients from his Asian-fusion dumplings were being cooled properly after one seemed too warm.
"They're on top of their game," So said. "They want to make sure every body is doing everything properly."
"We just look for temperatures, hand washing, where the food is coming from," said public health sanitarian Stefanie Moccero.
Vendors can't open until they follow every health code they would follow in their own restaurant or food cart.
"We've had restaurants who have not passed inspection and the health department will notify us of that," said Keith Peterson, the event director. "We as the event management team and the health department will go and speak with the restaurant. If there's a way to correct it, we'll allow them a few hours to do that. If not, we'll close them down."
This weekend, the only issues involved minor sanitation violations that were easily corrected.
For Taste veterans, like Double S BBQ out of Cambridge, owners have figured out an efficient way to keep up with both inspectors' and customers' orders.
"We go through 3,500 poppers every Taste of Madison," owner Shon Jones said. "This is my pit. It gets up to 350-400 degrees so it's like a huge oven, and I can do all of my cooking on it. It's basically like a kitchen. I have running water, sinks in the back, everything you need."
On Saturday, there were 10 inspectors out. On Sunday, there were two doing any follow-up inspections. Vendors couldn't open until they got the OK from the health department.

Purina recalls some dog food for salmonella risk
Source :
By AP staff,  Associated Press (AUG 30, 2013)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Nestle Purina PetCare Co. said Friday that it is recalling some of its dog food because of a possible salmonella risk.
The recall is limited to 3.5-pound bags of its Purina ONE beyOnd Our White Meat Chicken & Whole Barley Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food with the sell by date of "Oct. 2014" and unit UPC code of "2014 31071083 17800 12679."
One bag of the product was found to be contaminated with salmonella and no illnesses have been reported, Nestle Purina PetCare said.
Pets with salmonella may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.
The company advised customers to throw the food out and contact a veterinarian. Human contamination is also possible and can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and more serious problems such as muscle pain and eye irritation, the company said.
Customers can call Nestle Purina PetCare, at 800-473-8546, if they have any questions or want a refund.
Nestle Purina PetCare is a unit of Nestle, the Swiss-based food and drinks company. 

Fast-Food Walkout: Does Worker Well-Being Affect Food Safety?
Source :
By  James Andrews (Agust 29, 2013)
Thousands of fast-food workers in dozens of U.S. cities are reportedly set to stage a one-day national strike on Thursday to protest the industry’s low wages and predominant lack of basic benefits. Organizations representing restaurant employees say they expect it to be the largest-ever strike within the fast-food industry, which employs an estimated 4 million Americans.
Protest organizers have already held rolling one-day strikes starting this past November in cities such as New York, Chicago and Seattle, but Thursday will mark the first nationwide day of protest. Employees are asking for a minimum wage of $15 an hour, or the equivalent of $31,000 a year working full-time, up from the current federal minimum of $7.25, or around $15,000 a year full-time.
Raising wages and supplying basic benefits such as paid sick leave would not only boost worker well-being, but directly improve food safety and public health as well, said Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC).
In 2010, ROC released a report titled “Serving While Sick,” which surveyed more than 4,000 restaurant workers. The survey found that 88 percent of those workers did not have paid sick days and 63 percent reported cooking and serving food while sick.
In turn, those sick workers have been linked to outbreaks of norovirus, hepatitis A and typhoid fever among customers.
In a similar study titled “Backed into the Corner,” 48 percent of restaurant employees reported working shifts while ill, while 11 percent said they had experienced diarrhea or vomiting during a restaurant shift. Workers who did not have paid sick leave were found to be twice as likely to work while sick compared with their counterparts who did receive paid sick time.
The problem, Jayaraman said, is that restaurant workers simply cannot afford to take time off from work, even if they are severely ill. Of those who worked while sick, 74 percent said they could not afford to take the day off without pay, and 27 percent said they coughed or sneezed while handling food.
“Even if you’ve got hepatitis A, if you’re living on minimum wage or living off your tips and don’t get paid to stay home, you’re going to go to work regardless of your condition,” she told Food Safety News.
Low wages also equate to poor living conditions for fast-food employees, Jayaraman added. A portion of workers report being homeless or home-insecure, meaning that they may not have access to showers or other necessities for personal hygiene.
Restaurants found to have shortchanged employees or committed overtime pay violations were also found more likely than restaurants without labor violations to put the safety of employees and customers at risk.
When asked in an ROC survey if they had ever been pressured to cut corners in a way that might have risked public health, 44 percent of workers who experienced wage violations said yes, while 13 percent of workers at non-violating restaurants did. Similarly, 37 percent of workers at wage-violating restaurants said they did not receive health and safety training, while 17 percent of those without violations did.
President Obama has recently asked Congress raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. A July 2013 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 73 percent of Americans favored raising the minimum wage to $10.
Those who oppose raising the minimum wage say it would hurt job creation and lead to higher rates of unemployment.
The cities of San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Seattle have ordinances in place that require employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers, including those in the restaurant industry.

Cyclospora Attorney Lawyer: 655 with Cyclospora – What is it?
Source :
By Bill Marler (AUG 29, 2013)
The CDC reported today a total of 616 cases of Cyclospora infection have been reported from 22 states and New York City. The number of cases identified in each area is as follows: Texas (263), Iowa (156), Nebraska (86), Florida (32), Wisconsin (16), Illinois (11), Arkansas (10), Georgia (5), Missouri (5), New York City (5), Kansas (4), New Jersey (4), Louisiana (3), Virginia (3), Connecticut (2), Minnesota (2), New York (2), Ohio (2), California (1), New Hampshire (1), South Dakota (1), Tennessee (1), and Wyoming (1).
However, Texas has now reported a total of 302 cases of Cyclospora infection in Texas in 2013 with the vast majority having onsets in June and July. Most Texas cases are reported from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
That raises the total to 655.
What is cyclospora?
Cyclospora is a parasite composed of one cell, too small to be seen without a microscope. The organism was previously thought to be a blue-green alga or a large form of cryptosporidium. Cyclospora cayetanensis is the only species of this organism found in humans. The first known human cases of illness caused by cyclospora infection (that is, cyclosporiasis) were first discovered in 1977. An increase in the number of cases being reported began in the mid-1980s, in part due to the availability of better diagnostic techniques. Over 15,000 cases are estimated to occur in the United States each year. The first recorded cyclospora outbreak in North America occurred in 1990 and was linked to contaminated water. Since then, several cyclosporiasis outbreaks have been reported in the U.S. and Canada, many associated with eating fresh fruits or vegetables. In some developing countries, cyclosporiasis is common among the population and travelers to those areas have become infected as well.
Where does cyclospora come from?
Cyclospora is spread when people ingest water or food contaminated with infected stool. For example, exposure to contaminated water among farm workers may have been the original source of the parasite in raspberry-associated outbreaks in North America.
Cyclospora needs time (one to several weeks) after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious. Therefore, it is unlikely that cyclospora is passed directly from one person to another. It is not known whether or not animals can be infected and pass infection to people.
What are the typical symptoms of Cyclospora infection?
Cyclospora infects the small intestine (bowel) and usually causes watery diarrhea, bloating, increased gas, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, nausea, low-grade fever, and fatigue. In some cases, vomiting, explosive diarrhea, muscle aches, and substantial weight loss can occur. Some people who are infected with cyclospora do not have any symptoms. Symptoms generally appear about a week after infection. If not treated, the illness may last from a few days up to six weeks. Symptoms may also recur one or more times. In addition, people who have previously been infected with cyclospora can become infected again.
What are the serious and long-term risks of cyclospora infection?
Cyclospora has been associated with a variety of chronic complications such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, reactive arthritis or Reiter’s syndrome, biliary disease, and acalculous cholecystitis. Since cyclospora infections tend to respond to the appropriate treatment, complications are more likely to occur in individuals who are not treated or not treated promptly. Extraintestinal infection also appears to occur more commonly in individuals with a compromised immune system.
How is cyclospora infection detected?
Your health care provider may ask you to submit stool specimen for analysis. Because testing for cyclospora infection can be difficult, you may be asked to submit several stool specimens over several days. Identification of this parasite in stool requires special laboratory tests that are not routinely done. Therefore, your health care provider should specifically request testing for cyclospora if it is suspected. Your health care provider might have your stool checked for other organisms that can cause similar symptoms.
How is cyclospora infection treated?
The recommended treatment for infection with cyclospora is a combination of two antibiotics, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, also known as Bactrim, Septra, or Cotrim. People who have diarrhea should rest and drink plenty of fluids. No alternative drugs have been identified yet for people with cyclospora infection who are unable to take sulfa drugs. Some experimental studies, however, have suggested that ciprofloxacin or nitazoxanide may be effective, although to a lesser degree than trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. See your health care provider to discuss alternative treatment options.
How can Cyclospora infection be prevented?
Avoiding water or food that may be contaminated is advisable when traveling. Drinking bottled or boiled water and avoiding fresh ready-to-eat produce should help to reduce the risk of infection in regions with high rates of infection. Improving sanitary conditions in developing regions with poor environmental and economic conditions is likely to help to reduce exposure.
Washing fresh fruits and vegetables at home may help to remove some of the organisms, but cyclospora may remain on produce even after washing.

UPDATE: Another New York Hepatitis A Warning
Source :
By  Bill Marler (August 29, 2013)
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services is investigating a case of Hepatitis A virus in an individual who worked at the Driver’s Seat Restaurant, in, Southampton, New York.
Patrons who consumed food or beverage at this establishment between August 6th and August 20th may have been exposed to Hepatitis A. Preventive treatment for Hepatitis A virus can help to prevent or lessen the severity of illness when given within two weeks of exposure.
SCDHS will offer free Hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin (IG) to individuals who dined at this establishment between August 16th and August 20th . Treatment is offered at the 3rd Floor Teaching Center, Southampton Hospital, 240 Meeting House Lane, Southampton, at the following times:
Friday, August 30 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 31 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Monday, September 2 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 3 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Treatment will also be offered at SCDHS offices, 3500 Sunrise Hwy, Suite 124, Great River on:
Friday, August 30 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 3 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Potentially exposed individuals may also receive preventive treatment from their health care provider. Preventive treatment is not recommended for individuals potentially exposed before August 16, 2013. Those individuals should be aware of the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis A and contact their health care provider if they become ill.
Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver caused by the Hepatitis A virus. The virus may be spread by consuming food or drink that has been handled by an infected person. It may also be spread from person to person by putting in the mouth something that has been contaminated with fecal material of a person with hepatitis A. Casual contact, as in an office or school setting, does not spread the virus.
The symptoms of Hepatitis A range from mild to severe and include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark-colored urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Most people recover in a few weeks without any complications. The symptoms commonly appear within 28 days of exposure, with a range of 15-50 days. There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A. Treatment is supportive care. Thorough hand washing after bathroom use and before, during and after food preparation can help to prevent the spread of this and other intestinal illnesses.

Food safety violators can be blacklisted
Source :
By Global Times (AUG 29, 2013)
Ten types of food including baby formula and raw meat will be tracked during every step of production and sales, and businesses who commit serious violations will be permanently blacklisted from China's market, the Beijing News reports.
According to Zhang Zhikuan, director of Beijing Municipal Food and Drug Administration, the 10 types of food are dairy products, meat products, condiments, flour products, sugar and alcohol, sauces, edible oils, puffed food, fruit juice and chilled and frozen foods.
Currently, about 85 percent of Beijing's food is imported from other cities and countries. Zhang said that an information platform for food security and credibility will be established. All information pertaining to the production and sales chains, as well as the credibility of the food producers and sellers of theses 10 types of food, will be made public.

Relief but questions over food safety tests
Source :
By (AUG 29, 2013)
The false alarm over Fonterra's botulism scare in some of its whey concentrate product has resulted in a relieved food industry but prompted questions about how testing could have failed on such an epic scale.
Opposition parties say questions need to be asked into how the "fiasco" was allowed to develop and Fonterra has confirmed it will conduct internal reviews into the issue.
The Ministry for Primary Industries said yesterday that the bacteria found in some of Fonterra's whey concentrate was not the botulism-causing Clostridium botulinum, but Clostridium sporogenes, which has no safety issues.
The false results, on tests done by Crown-owned AgResearch this month, has dented the country's food safety reputation and cost exporters millions of dollars in lost revenue.
After the contamination scare, China temporarily suspended imports of Fonterra whey powder and dairy base powder, while Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus banned Fonterra products until at least the end of the year.
Infant Formula Exporters Association chief administrative officer Chris Claridge said he had been dismayed and disturbed about the way the scare was handled.
New Zealand needed a more co-ordinated and coherent approach to food scares, he said.
"I've lost a million dollars worth of trade and I'm a small and medium-sized exporter."
One of the companies hit hardest by the scare, Nutricia, which had some baby formula products recalled, said the latest results had mirrored its own testing that its product was free of Clostridium botulinum.
The company's legal team based at its head office in Amsterdam would discuss the issue, a spokeswoman said.
Labour primary industries spokesman Damien O'Connor called the results a "complete systems failure by the Ministry for Primary Industries".
Greens co-leader Russel Norman said the ministry and Fonterra both needed to take an extremely hard look at how the "fiasco" had developed.
Additional testing commissioned by the ministry of the original samples tested by AgResearch led to Fonterra and the ministry initiating the precautionary recall on August 2.
The latest independent research involved a total of 195 tests in the United States and New Zealand, with results arriving overnight yesterday.
The ministry's acting director-general, Scott Gallacher, said it needed to act on what it knew at that time. "The information we had then said there was a food safety risk to consumers and we moved quickly to address it," he said.
Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings said the co-operative had done the right thing with the recall and would do the same again, if confronted by similar circumstances.
"I believe that we ... made the right calls all the way through this," he told a news conference. "Of course it was not an easy product recall."
Spierings acknowledged there had been confusion and anxiety arising from the complexity of the precautionary recall, and apologised for it.
Food and Grocery Council chief executive Katherine Rich said the news that there was no botulism risk from the Fonterra batches of whey would come as a huge relief to consumers around world, as well as to the company and the food industry. While some people would ask whether the precautionary recalls were a waste of time, she said, the answer was no.
"From a food industry perspective Fonterra did exactly the right thing - they put public safety first."
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the all-clear and the tracing report would go a long way to reassure international markets.
However, he said, there were still unanswered questions about the scare and how it was handled. - additional reporting: Rebecca Quilliam

Family Cow Raw Milk Sales Resume
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (AUG 29, 2013)
After a Campylobacter outbreak linked to its raw milk prompted a suspension of sales, Family Cow has been cleared by Pennsylvania health officials to resume  raw milke sales.  The outbreak was the third less than two years to be associated with The Family Cow farm in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
In this outbreak, two people who consumed raw milk from the farm developed campylobacteriosis, the infection caused by ingesting the bacteria Campylobacter. In May 2013, at least five people were sickened by Campylobacter in a raw milk outbreak linked to the farm. And in January 2012, the farm was the source of the largest raw milk outbreak in Pennsylvania history. Several people were hospitalized.
Raw milk sales are legal in Pennsylvania as long as producers pass mandatory inspections.  But health officials say raw milk is a high-risk food that can cause serious illness. Because it is not pasteurized, raw milk can conFamily Cow sells raw milk in plastic gallon, half gallon, quart and pint containers directly to consumers through on-farm sales,  at drop off locations and at retail stores around Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley, and south-central Pennsylvania.
After receiving complaints of illness in late July, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture went to the farm on 3854 Olde Scotland Road and collected samples of raw milk on July 29, 2013. Positive test results for Campylobacter were confirmed on Monday, Aug. 5.

Cyclospora Lawsuit Roundup; Iowa and Nebraska
Source :
By News Desk (AUG 28, 2013)
Several lawsuits have been filed on behalf of victims of the Cyclospora outbreak that has sickened over 600 people in 22 states. The cases in Iowa and Nebraska are linked to lettuce salad served at Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants that was supplied by Taylor Farms de Mexico, according to the CDC.
Below is a roundup of the Iowa and Nebraska lawsuits filed to date.
Iowa Cyclospora Lawsuits
At least 2 Cyclospora lawsuits have been filed in Iowa, both in the United Stated District Court for the District of Northern Iowa. The defendants (companies sued) in both Iowa lawsuits are Darden Corporation, the owner of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other restaurants, and Taylor Fresh Foods, the owner of Taylor Farms de Mexico.
One Iowa plaintiff (person who is suing) ate at the Olive Garden restaurant located at 4930 Sergeant Road, Sioux City, Iowa on June 10, 2013. By June 16, she began experiencing symptoms of a Cyclospora infection (cyclosporiasis) malaise, fatigue and cramping.  A day later she had frequent, uncontrollable diarrhea. At her first visit to the doctor on June 19, she was undiagnosed. According to the CDC, cyclosporiasis is hard to diagnose because it is uncommon in the United States and people infected with the parasite may not shed enough Cyclospora oocysts in their stool to be readily detectable by a laboratory. She was not diagnosed until July 1, 2013, and was then prescribed Bactrim to treat her infection.
The other Iowa plaintiff ate at the Olive Garden restaurant located at 367 Collins Rd NE,  Cedar Rapids, Iowa on or about June 5, 2013.  The lawsuit alleges that on June 12, 2013, she had cyclosporiasis symptoms, including diarrhea, fatigue and cramping.  She sought medical treatment that day. It was not until July 6, 2013, that a stool sample was taken from her to testing for Cyclospora. She was diagnosed with cyclosporiasis three days later and prescribed Bactrim to treat her infection.
“Pritzker Olsen filed the first lawsuits in the United States against Darden and Taylor Farms nearly a month ago and represent approximately 50 other people sickened with Cyclospora,” said Ryan Osterholm, an attorney with PritzkerOlsen law firm.   “We are actively seeking answers from Taylor Farms and Darden about where the contaminated product went, and how many cases are related to these Defendants.  We intend to take these cases to trial if need be to obtain this information.  The public is at least owed this much.”
Nebraska Cyclospora Lawsuits
Two  Cyclospora lawsuits have been filed in Nebraska. The plaintiffs in both cases ate lettuce salad at the Olive Garden restaurant located at 90 Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska, in June of this year. The lawsuits were filed in Lancaster County District Court against Olive Garden, Darden Corporation and Taylor Fresh Foods, Inc. Shortly after eating at Olive Garden, all of the plaintiffs began experiencing symptoms consistent with Cyclospora food poisoning, including nausea, persistent diarrhea, fever, headaches and dehydration, abdominal cramping and stomach pain, muscle pain, severe bloating and gas, persistent fatigue, and loss of appetite, according to the complaint.
Hepatitis A Outbreak Timeline
Source :
By Carla Gillespie (AUG 28,2 013)
Since March 31, 159 people in 10 states have been diagnosed with hepatitis A infections from eating contaminated Townsend Farms frozen berries purchased from Costco stores.  Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral infection and those who have it should stay home from work. Symptoms include mild fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, dark urine, clay colored stools and jaundice. The contaminated berries were sold at other store, but only berries purchased from Costco were linked to illnesses. Following is a timeline of key dates in the outbreak investigation in 2013.
May 31, Colorado Department of Public Health,  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  announce an investigation of a hepatitis A outbreak linked to Townsend Farms berries sold at Costco and Harris Teeter stores. Thirty people in five states are sick.
June 1, a traceback investigation identifies pomegranate seeds from Turkey that are part of  the frozen berry mix as the source of the outbreak. Test results from two people sickened in this outbreak suggest the outbreak strain of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is genotype 1B,  a strain rarely seen in the Americas that circulates in  North Africa and the Middle East.
June 3, the outbreak expands to include Hawaii. The case count rises to 32. Nine people are hospitalized.
June 4, Townsend Farms issues a recall for the berries. Haris Teeter issues a recall. (As of August 28 no illnesses have been linked to berries purchased at Harris Teeter stores.) The outbreak expands to include Utah. Forty nine people in seven states are sick.
June 6, the outbreak expands to include 61 people. Eleven are hospitalized.
June 7, county health departments in affected states have been administering free vaccinations. Seventy nine people in eight states are sick, 30 of them are hospitalized.
June 11, a lawsuit is filed on behalf of an Arizona man who was sickened. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, names Townsend Farms and Costco as defendants. “We fully intend on bringing claims against Purely Pomegranate for their role in importing the contaminated seeds from Turkey.  In our system where the foreign companies are beyond the jurisdiction of US courts, importers like Purely Pomegranate owe consumers a duty to make sure those foreign companies produce food at our standards for quality and safety,” said Brendan Flaherty, a food safety attorney with Pritzker Olsen law firm.
June 12, the outbreak expands to include 99 people in eight states. Thirty eight are hospitalized.
June 17, the outbreak includes 118 in eight states. Forty seven people are hospitalized.
June 27, Woodstock organic pomegranate kernels are recalled. One hundred twenty two people are sick.
June 28, the outbreak expands to include 127 people. Fifty five are hospitalized.
June 29, the FDA announces that it will detain shipments of pomegranate seeds from Goknur Gida Maddeleri Ithalat thracat Tic (Goknur Foodstuffs Import Export Trading) of Turkey intended for import into the country. Townsend Farms expands berry recall.
July 5, the outbreak expands to include 140 people. Sixty one are hospitalized.
July 15, the FDA issues two import alerts That FDA has issued two import alerts for Goknur Foodstuffs. One for produce that contains pathogens,  another for produce packed in insanitary conditions.
July 21, the outbreak expands to include 150 people. Ten of the case patients are children under 18 who had not been vaccinated.
August 4, the outbreak expands to include 158 people. Sixty nine are hospitalized.
August 16, outbreak includes 159 in 10 states. By state, the case count is as follows: Arizona (23), California (77), Colorado (28), Hawaii (8), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (1), New Mexico (10), Nevada (6), Utah (3), and Wisconsin (2). The Wisconsin cases resulted from exposure to the contaminated product in California, the New Hampshire case was exposed during travel to Nevada, and the case reported in New Jersey was a household contact of a confirmed case from Colorado. Six of the cases are secondary cases.

Agreement in Horse Slaughter Case: All Parties Want it to End
Source :
By Dan Flynn (AUG 28, 2013)
The parties suing USDA to stop horse slaughter before it can start up again in the U.S. agree with the government on one thing: they, too, want to get the court case they brought over as quickly as possible. Bruce A. Wagman, attorney for the plaintiffs, has filed a motion with the U.S. District Court in New Mexico supporting the government’s request for an expedited hearing and briefing on the merits.
Wagman, who represents the Humane Society of the U.S. and several other animal welfare and horse rescue groups, has suggested a schedule that could put the issue in the hands of Federal District Court Judge M. Christina Armijo by Oct. 10. New Mexico Attorney General Gary K. King joined in Wagman’s motion, which was filed Tuesday.
Judge Armijo has scheduled a Sept. 3 status conference, which attorneys can access by telephone.
Wagman still wants Armijo to rule on his motions to change the Aug. 2 temporary restraining order that blocks two companies with grants of inspection for horsemeat packing from starting those operations unless permitted by the court and to reduce or eliminate the costly bond plaintiffs must come up with for the case to proceed.
On the TRO, Wagman wants it to only prohibit USDA from providing equine inspection services to Valley Meat in New Mexico and Responsible Transportation in Iowa. Currently, it also prohibits those companies from operating horse-slaughter businesses, even though the plaintiffs are not suing them. As long as USDA is barred from doing inspections, horses cannot be slaughtered for human consumption.
That became a big concern for the plaintiffs after a federal magistrate imposed a bond against them of nearly $500,000 a month to cover the possibility that USDA wins the case. In other words, it’s meant to cover the economic harm imposed by the plaintiffs if they lose.
Government attorneys representing USDA’s top three food-safety officials say it’s time to end the court battle that has temporarily banned horse slaughter in the U.S. They’ve asked the U.S. District Court in New Mexico to move immediately to an expedited hearing and ruling on the merits of the case.
This would eliminate the next step that had been anticipated in the case – a hearing on whether to grant the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction. They already won a temporary restraining order.

2 CNE food vendors closed for food safety violations
Source :
By Don Peat ,City Hall Bureau Chief (AUG 28, 2013)
The Canadian National Exhibition had to stomach more food woes Wednesday.
Toronto Public Health announced it had closed two food booths at the CNE Tuesday night — the same day it had allowed cronut burger-maker Epic Burgers and Waffles to reopen following last week’s food-borne illness outbreak.
Public health shut down Bourbon Street Grill and BAO 360 Shanghai Express along with a nearby truck trailer used for food preparation on Tuesday night.
The two eateries were operated by the same operator and the Ex has ordered them to stay closed for the remainder of the fair.
Public health’s DineSafe website states that both restaurants were closed because the operator failed to prevent “gross unsanitary conditions.”
Jim Chan, Toronto Public Health’s manager of food safety, said an inspector identified “serious” food safety issues around sanitation, food handling practices and temperature control of hazardous food including meat and chicken. That prompted an order for the two booths to close immediately under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. Chan said around six charges were laid against the operator.
“(Food) was being processed and left out at room temperature and also displayed at room temperature,” he said.
The Bourbon Street Grill received a conditional pass on the first day of opening at the Ex.
“The inspector continued to monitor for the past week and when they observed a serious offence (Tuesday) they issued an order,” Chan said.
So far, public health has done 360 food inspections at the CNE and 31 places have received conditional passes.
The closure comes a week after dozens of people became ill when they ate the cronut burger at the CNE. That outbreak led to the voluntary closure of Epic Burgers and a full public health investigation. Health officials announced Tuesday the maple bacon jam topping on the burger was the source of the bacteria that caused the outbreak.
Epic Burgers announced Tuesday it had taken the cronut burger off the menu and was no longer dealing with Le Dolci — the bakery that supplied the jam.
Despite the culinary controversies, CNE general manager David Bednar saidd they take food safety seriously at the fair.
“The Canadian National Exhibition is the safest place to eat a meal in the GTA,” Bednar said.
Mayor Rob Ford was surprised to hear two food booths had been closed.
“(I’ve) never had (concerns about food at the Ex),” Ford said. “Obviously, when you’re a little kid and stuff you go down, you eat too much food, everyone overeats at the Ex — you don’t feel well just because you overindulge.
“I’ve never had a problem with it. I think they dealt with the cronut burger as best as they could and like I said, I thought it was safer than ever.”

Don’t Wash That Bird! Animation Shows Spread of Contamination
Source :
By Linda Larsen (AUG 27, 2013)
Remember when we told you last year to not wash turkeys and chickens before you cook them? Washing just spreads pathogenic bacteria around the kitchen. Now there’s visual proof of what happens when raw meat is rinsed under the kitchen faucet.
Drexel University has launched a new campaign called “Don’t Wash Your Chicken” to urge consumers to drop the habit. They  have released a video filmed with what they call “germ vision” that shows how bacteria spread onto adjacent surfaces (and you) when a chicken is rinsed under running water. Oddly, the film focuses on “minority populations”, because those groups seem to be more likely to wash raw poultry before cooking.
When you wash raw meat under running water, the bacteria “aerosolizes”, or becomes airborne, and it can end up three feet away from the sink. If you’re a shorter person, the bacteria could end up on your face and mouth.
Jennifer Quinlan, a food safety researchers at the University, told NPR “there’s no reason, from a scientific point of view, to think you’re making it any safer, and in fact, you’re making it less safe. You should assume that if you have chicken, you have either Salmonella or Campylobacter bacteria in it, if not both. If you wash it, you’re more likely to spray bacteria all over the kitchen and yourself.”
The USDA recommends that poultry, beef, pork, lamb, and veal should not be washed before cooking. Public health officials also say that only cooking meats to a safe internal temperature kills bacteria that can make you sick.

E. coli Outbreak Linked to Australian Petting Zoo Sickens 12
Source :
By News Desk (AUG 27, 2013)
At least 12 people – primarily children – have likely fallen ill after visiting a petting zoo at a fair in Brisbane, Australia.
Four people, including three girls between the ages of six and 13, have tested positive for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in connection with the Ekka, an annual fair-like agricultural show in Queensland.
Health officials in Queensland announced on Monday that another eight visitors had fallen ill with symptoms of E. coli infection. They are still awaiting test results to confirm their infections.
At least one patient, a 68-year-old man, has been hospitalized.
The state’s chief health officer advised anyone who visited the farm-animal petting area at the Ekka and then experienced bloody or persistent diarrhea to seek medical attention.
Health investigators are working to determine which animals at the exhibit may have been carrying the bacteria.
Last year, a toddler died after contracting an E. coli infection at a state fair in North Carolina. Food Safety News published an in-depth report this past November on related illness outbreaks: “The Petting Zoo Problem.”

Surprising Source of Cronut Burger Staphylococcus Identified
Source :
By Linda Larsen (AUG 27, 2013)
Toronto Public Health has confirmed that the source of the Staphylococcus aureus in the Cronut burger that sickened more than 200 people at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) was the maple-bacon jam. Dr. David McKeown, Tortonto’s Medical Officer of Health said in a statement, “new lab results indicate that the maple bacon jam, which is one component of the Cronut burger, is the casue of food-borne illnesses at the CNE. We have ensurd the contaminated product is not served. There is no risk to the public.”
Epic Burger and Waffles will be allowed to reopen as long as they do not serve this product from the supplier, Le Dolci, and as long as all food safety requirements are met. As of 8:00 am August 27, 2013, there have been 223 reports of illness from consumers who visited the CNE. More than 150 people have been interviewed by public health officials. Not all of the ill persons reported eating the Cronut burger, but the only common food consumed by those who were sick is that product.
Symptoms of the illness include upset stomach, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and dehydration. The investigation now focuses on Le Dolci, the supplier of the jam, to find out how it was contaminated. Le Dolci has voluntarily ceased production of the product.

Why is the food industry still fighting traceability?
Source :
By Tom Karst (AUG 27, 2013)
Back in Kansas City this week, and rolling through highlights from around the Web this morning.
There is coverage in the Food Poisoning Bulletin that interviews a CDC official who discusses the twists and turns of the cyclospora investigation, leaving the reader with the distinct impression that much remains unknown about the source of the outbreak, particularly in Texas.
One discussion of traceability on the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group was started with a very provocative question:
Why is the food industry fighting traceability so hard?
Check out the responses and see if you concur with the premise made by one member: retailers are part of the problem, and not part of the solution. One member writes:
If Retailers and Foods Service Restaurants would be mandated to notify consumers in cases where they consumed or bought potentially hazardous Foods, the economics would change quickly. Right now, they only interest that Retailers have is, to get potentially harmful product of the shelves to commence with business as usual.

United Natural Products Alliance Adopts Industry Food Safety Standard from ReposiTrakTM
Source :
By Business Wire via The Motley Fool (AUG 27, 2013)
United Natural Products Alliance Adopts Industry Food Safety Standard from ReposiTrak TM
UNPA support positions ReposiTrak at the center of the track and trace effort for dietary supplements and natural and functional foods
SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), a leading international association of dietary supplement, functional food and natural health products companies, today announced its commitment to food safety by endorsing and agreeing to promote the use of track and trace technology from ReposiTrak, a solution provider backed by international food safety consultants Leavitt Partners and retail technology experts Park City Group (NYSE MKT: PCYG). The ReposiTrak system, which includes Document Management and Track & Trace applications, will be made available to and employed by UNPA members during the coming months.
"It is critical that our members know exactly where their ingredients are coming from and where finished goods are going so customers and consumers have total confidence in their brands. ReposiTrak, which we believe is quickly becoming the industry standard across the retail food industry, creates the visibility needed to reduce risks and ensure that only safe products are being sold to shoppers," said Loren D. Israelsen, President of UNPA.
Powered by Park City Group's technology, ReposiTrak enables grocery warehouses, supermarkets, packaged goods manufacturers, food processing facilities, drug stores and drug manufacturers, as well as logistics partners, to track and trace products and components throughout the global food, drug and dietary supplement supply chains. In addition, the technology addresses the market need of receiving, storing, sharing, and maintaining regulatory documentation all in one convenient location. ReposiTrak reduces risk in the supply chain by identifying backward chaining sources and forward chaining recipients of products in near real time.
"UNPA is an innovative trade group acting to safeguard its members in a market that is increasingly complicated by changing consumer behavior and new government and food safety regulations. ReposiTrak helps UNPA accomplish this goal by enabling its members to see all product flows and act quickly and effectively to address any issues before they become real problems," said Rich McKeown, President of ReposiTrak.
About UNPA
The United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) is an international association representing many leading dietary supplement, functional food and analytical companies that share a commitment to provide consumers with natural health products of superior quality, benefit and reliability. Founded in Utah in 1991, UNPA was instrumental in the passage of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) and continues to take a leadership position in regulatory issues and industry best practices. Visit
About ReposiTrak™
ReposiTrak is collaboration between Leavitt Partners and Park City Group. The collaboration provides food retailers and suppliers with a robust solution to help protect their brands and remain in compliance with rapidly evolving regulations in the Food Safety Modernization Act. Powered by Park City Group's technology, ReposiTrak is an internet-based solution that enables all participants in the farm-to-table supply chain to easily manage tracking and traceability requirements as products move between trading partners. More information is available at
About Park City Group
Park City Group (NYSE MKT: PCYG) is a Software-as-a-Service ("SaaS") provider that brings unique visibility to the consumer goods supply chain, delivering actionable information that ensures product is on the shelf when the consumer expects it as well as providing food safety tracking information. The Company's service increases customers' sales and profitability while enabling lower inventory levels and ensuring regulatory compliance for both retailers and their suppliers. Through a process known as Consumer Driven Sales OptimizationTM, Park City Group helps its customers turn information into cash and increased sales, using the largest scan based platform in the world. Scan based trading provides retail trading partners with a distinct competitive advantage through scan sales that provides store level visibility and sets the supply chain in motion. And since it is scan based, it can be used in a Direct Store Delivery (DSD) or warehouse setting.
About Leavitt Partners
Leavitt Partners advises clients in the health care and food safety sectors. The firm applies its experience, knowledge and a network of global relationships to serve our clients. As a food safety and health care intelligence business we provide the best available window to the future of American health care. More information is available at
Beef cattle producers would need to assume responsibility for Salmonella prevention, if Loneragan’s research pans out.
“Producers have to understand that [Salmonella] is already in the animal when it arrives at the feed lot,” said Loneragan. “This cannot be addressed in the slaughter facility; it has to be upstream. The owners may be shipping cattle that have Salmonella in them.”
Atkinson, the animal science professor at Southern Illinois University, said producers could also alter their current transportation methods to reduce stress in cattle. Stress can trigger lymph system activity.
As for vaccines, the costs to a producer have not yet been determined. Probiotic costs could be about $2 per animal for the duration of time it is in a feed lot.
Options for reducing Salmonella
Reduction of Salmonella, not elimination, is the goal, Marsden said, adding that he believes it would be very difficult to get to zero cases of Salmonella or E. coli.
Due to the drug-resistant nature of Salmonella in ground beef, there are few post-slaughter prevention options.
“You would need some form of pasteurization to eliminate it, or irradiation, but I am not a big advocate for it. Consumers are against it. Irradiation has been a dead issue for a few years, but there was discussion about doing it again in a more acceptable manner. It is a possible solution,” Marsden said.
Another possible post-harvest solution would be to treat the ground beef with ammonium hydroxide. This practice of treating ground beef received mostly negative national media attention in 2012.
Ammonium hydroxide is used by Beef Products, Inc., a South Dakota ground-beef processor, in making lean finely textured beef, sometimes referred to as “pink slime.”
“I have done research with BPI for 10 years, and while their main concern was E. coli, we did look at Salmonella as well,” said James Dickson, professor of microbiology and animal science at Iowa State University. “Ammonium hydroxide does control E. coli and Salmonella in ground beef. It doesn’t eliminate it, but it does substantially reduce it.”
Ground beef trimmings were treated with Salmonella, E. coli and other pathogens during Dickson’s research. The ammonium hydroxide-treated beef displayed lower levels of pathogens. Further, when the treated beef was mixed with untreated beef, the new mix also displayed lower levels of pathogens.
Dickson’s research was funded by Beef Products Inc., but he says that didn’t influence the findings.
“Some people have said I have a conflict of interest when reporting what I found since BPI paid for my research,” Dickson said. “I didn’t feel any pressure to say or find anything. In fact, BPI was adamant that I publish the findings no matter what I found. That is unusual in this industry. Most companies want you to sign a confidentiality agreement agreeing not to publish anything.”
Ongoing research and public education
“If meat is prepared properly, Salmonella is neutralized,” Marsden noted. “It can be in steaks and roast, not just in ground beef. But if it is all cooked right, it can be managed.
“We need to continue the pre-harvest research to reduce this in cattle. USDA is looking at this from a public health point of view. If we start to see outbreaks associated with drug-resistant Salmonella, USDA will act,” he added.
“People do eat beef less than well-done. They have done a good job educating the public about Salmonella in chicken and pork, but not in beef,” he said.
Loneragan’s lymph-node research was initially funded as part of a Salmonella working group by the National Cattleman’s Beef Association beef check-off program. The check-off program is a producer-funded marketing and research program.
He later received a grant from the USDA Agricultural Research Service, with additional check-off funding for the 2010 study.
The most recent study was funded by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant, more beef check-off money and private industry support.
Research on Salmonella in beef is much more recent than E. coli. E. coli was declared an adulterant by USDA in 1993, giving the industry time to study and understand the E. coli transmission and to work on solutions.
“You have to think about where we are at the moment with E. coli, and it is 20 years after a major outbreak,” Loneragan aid. “We are two-and-a-half years into this, and we have already come a long way, but it has been a short time. We have more to learn. We have only just begun to look at the ecology of Salmonella. We need to think about a three-year process to explore this.”
The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonprofit newsroom devoted to coverage of agribusiness and related topics such as government programs, environment and energy. Visit them

CDC stumped on cyclospora outbreak
Source :
By Logan Hawkes (AUG 27, 2013)
Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigators admit they failed to get a handle on a serious Cyclosporiasis outbreak that has now affected 609 people in 22 states.
It has been 56 days since the CDC first announced the outbreak of a single-celled parasite known as Cyclospora cayetanesis, and still investigators are not certain of the source of origin.
In two investigative updates, one from state epidemiologists in Iowa and Nebraska and one from the U.S. Food and Drug Administrative (FDA), a salad mix from Taylor Farms de Mexico was linked to the outbreak in those two states, reaching consumers through Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants. But CDC investigators are asking whether that conclusion can help explain the increase in ill persons with Cyclosporiasis in other states.
Those investigations have lead to a response from Taylor Farms, who suspended operations on Aug. 22.  Company officials say they informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the voluntary action, and in a release the company later said it will not resume operations without FDA clearance.
FDA said earlier this month an investigation had confirmed a number of individuals who became ill after eating salad mixes at Olive Garden and Red Lobster Restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska.
"This decision allows Taylor Farms de Mexico to focus more resources on assisting the FDA in their investigation of the June cyclospora outbreak in Iowa and Nebraska," the company said on its website Friday.
If you are enjoying reading this article, please check out Southwest Farm Press Daily and receive the latest news right to your inbox.
In addition to an extended bout with diarrhea, victims infected by the parasite can suffer from nausea, abdominal pain, aches and pains, cramping and fever.
In spite of identifying salad mixes from Taylor Foods was the common source among multiple cases of the illness in two of the 22 states, the CDC says the problem may go deeper because infected individuals in other states did not appear to share that common source. Officials complain that work to trace the path of foods to one common source is labor intensive and requires a great deal of time.
Elevated concern, awareness
The latest unofficial word from CDC is they simply do not know for certain whether they are dealing with one big outbreak or several smaller outbreaks. They report they have collected medical information on 448 of the confirmed cases so far and have discovered about 8 percent of those (37 individuals) have required hospitalization. No fatalities had been reported as of Aug. 23.
Texas leads the nation with the greatest number of confirmed cases, 257 as of Friday (Aug. 23). Following were Iowa with 156 confirmed cases, Nebraska with 86 cases, Florida with 31 cases, Wisconsin (16), Illinois (11), and Arkansas (10). There were 15 additional states that reported one or more cases in July-August (22 total).
Most of the illness onset dates have ranged from mid-June through mid-July, but just over 250 cases have been added to the count so far during August.
In a time when both government officials and U.S. consumers are concerned about food safety, especially since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there has been a great deal more awareness and concern over potential risks associated with food issues, like what potentially can transpire from the time food leaves the field on the farm and begins a long trek to first a processing, packaging and shipping facility(s), and eventually to grocery aisles and consumer's kitchens. Heightened concerns over food safety in public restaurants and eateries have also made headlines and blogs in recent times.
In light of the current and evasive Cyclosporiasis outbreak and the 2011 listeria outbreak that originated on a Colorado melon farm, one of the worst food poisoning outbreaks in U.S. history, government leaders, national security experts, and medical researchers have been trying to get a handle on how to keep America's food safe. While investigators work through more cases and clues about the mysterious Cyclosporiasus illness, another group has been working diligently to provide a new level of safety for the average American.
Looking for needles in social haystacks
A group of social media developers in Chicago have been working on how to provide appropriate tracking methods for food borne illnesses. The researchers created the Foodbourne Chicago app, connecting consumers in Chicago with the local Department of Health.
The app constantly searches social media outlets like Twitter with keywords related to the issue. When a tweet is discovered that is related to a suspected food borne illness that originated in the Chicago watch area, developers will respond by advising individuals to use an online interface to complete a simple report. This information is forwarded to the City's 311 emergency service, a tracking number is issued and local health officials keep up with developments, including the victim's state of health.
All this information, once compiled, can bring to light developing food safety issues that may pose a serious public health risk. Authorities can then respond appropriately to prevent the problem from becoming more widespread, including monitoring potential risks at public restaurants and other food provider locations, and to take corrective action when trends trigger a credible and specific warning.
During early tests, some 70 incidents have been logged, though not all of them as a result of Twitter searches. But developers say they are encouraged by the response and the quality of the information gathered and believe after additional development and more tweaking, the app could become a first or early response system to add a layer of safety for consumers by quickly identifying and sharing information about a food born illness outbreak almost as fast as it develops.
Another benefit of the program will be providing information to local health officials as they attempt to identify restaurants and eateries that need special attention. The large number of restaurants, cafes, diners, delis and other food establishments in Chicago make regular inspections a difficult task, but information gathered by searching social media sites could help identify potential problems before they get out of control.
The idea to connect social media with a set of specific keywords for the purpose of information gathering and marketing isn't exactly new. A similar technology, known as nEmesis, was developed by researchers at the University of Rochester. That program also used Twitter data to identify potential food poisoning cases. University researchers have combed through nearly 4 million tweets and identified well over 400 possible food poison-related cases.
Both programs are in the early stages of testing, but food safety officials say they hope new technology and better awareness by the public, combined with timely inspections of eating establishments, markets, warehouses and trucks where food is stored, processed or shipped, will one day lead to better and more efficient ways to protect consumers from unexpected food borne illness.
Health officials point out that social media apps and programs can never replace clinical evaluation and emergency response as appropriate measures to protect public health. But they hope such programs can at least provide additional surveillance and another layer in the early warning system before outbreaks of food borne illness can get out of hand.



Click on here for more information


Job openings

08/29. Food Safety Qual& Reg Intern – Wichita, KS
08/29. QA/Food Safety Superintendent – Green Bay, WI
08/29. Food Safety Auditor - Los Angeles, CA
08/28. Quality Assurance Lead Tech – New York, NY
08/28. Assistant QA Mgr/HACCP – Cassville, MO
08/28. Food Safety Auditor - SSC - Chicago, IL
08/27. Food Safety & Quality Specialist – Chicago, IL
08/27. Supply Quality Manager – Plymouth, WI
08/27. Corporate Manager, Food Safety & QA - Brea, CA






2013 Basic and Advanced HACCP

Training Scheduals are Available
Click here to check the HACCP Training

This certification fulfills all USDA/FSIS and FDA regulatory requirements for HACCP Training. The certification is also accepted by auditing firms who require HACCP Training as a component of the audit. Our training has encompassed a multitude of industries from the farm to the table.
We are so proud that more than 400 attendees successfully finished Basic and Advanced HACCP Trainings through FoodHACCP. All attendees received a HACCP certificate which fulfills all USDA/FSIS and FDA regulatory requirements for HACCP Training